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They discover fossils of an octopus that was chased by a shark while eating a lobster 180 million years ago



Published:

12 May 2021 00:21 GMT

The researchers believe that the findings will help to better understand the Jurassic food chain.

More than 180 million years ago, in the early Jurassic period, an ancient squid-like creature conquered a glorious crustacean with its many tentacles. However, he could not enjoy it: he barely ate it when it became the prey of a prehistoric shark, reports Phys.org.

The shark snatched a good piece of meat from the mollusk and continued on its route.

The remains of the ancient squid, with the lobster in its mouth, sank slowly to the bottom of the ocean and were fossilized over millions of years.

The fossils of both animals were discovered in a quarry near Stuttgart (Germany) in the 1970s. They were kept in a private collection for several decades and were later taken over by the local natural history museum.

In an article published in the Swiss Journal of Paleontology, a group of researchers described the fossil record and details what they could find out about the relationship between ancient vertebrates and vertebrate predators.

“We believe they are the remains of what was eaten by a predator of a vertebrate, possibly a Hybodus hauffianus shark, from the early Jurassic. This is remarkable because it reports on the behavior of a cephalopod and a vertebrate predator, ”the researchers concluded. scientists.

The reason for assuming that it is the food remains of a shark is that the predator did not stay to eat it, probably because the cephalopods had sturdy heads, with hard, pointed and difficult-to-digest beaks.

This means that the hunter may not have been an ichthyosaur, although these extinct marine reptiles were particularly active in hunting belemnites, a group of cephalopod mollusks to which the prehistoric as well as extinct squid belonged. However, the stomach contents of the ichthyosaurs found show only the tentacles of the belemnites, without the presence of hard parts.

On the other hand, the fossil stomachs of marine crocodiles and predatory fish suggest that these creatures ate them whole.


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